Acute epiglottitis (AE) is a life-threatening condition and needs to be recognized timely. Diagnosis of AE with a lateral neck radiograph yields poor reliability and sensitivity. Convolutional neural networks (CNN) are powerful tools to assist the analysis of medical images. This study aimed to develop an artificial intelligence model using CNN-based transfer learning to identify AE in lateral neck radiographs. All cases in this study are from two hospitals, a medical center, and a local teaching hospital in Taiwan. In this retrospective study, we collected 251 lateral neck radiographs of patients with AE and 936 individuals without AE. Neck radiographs obtained from patients without and with AE were used as the input for model transfer learning in a pre-trained CNN including Inception V3, Densenet201, Resnet101, VGG19, and Inception V2 to select the optimal model. We used five-fold cross-validation to estimate the performance of the selected model. The confusion matrix of the final model was analyzed. We found that Inception V3 yielded the best results as the optimal model among all pre-train models. Based on the average value of the fivefold cross-validation, the confusion metrics were obtained: accuracy = 0.92, precision = 0.94, recall = 0.90, and area under the curve (AUC) = 0.96. Using the Inception V3-based model can provide an excellent performance to identify AE based on radiographic images. We suggest using the CNN-based model which can offer a non-invasive, accurate, and fast diagnostic method for AE in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-901
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Digital Imaging
Issue number3
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Acute epiglottitis
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Convolutional neural networks
  • Emergency medicine
  • Lateral neck radiographs
  • Medical errors
  • Transfer learning
  • X-ray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Science Applications


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